Feb 15, 2019 17:27 Asia/Tehran

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called a snap election, plunging the country into fresh political uncertainty.

Iran Press/Europe: Spain’s prime minister in a news conference in Madrid on Friday called for a snap election after Catalan secessionists joined right-wing parties in rejecting the socialist government’s national budget earlier this week.

The country’s third general election in less than four years was seen as an inevitability following Sanchez’s defeat on Wednesday.

“Between doing nothing and continuing without the budget, and calling on Spaniards to have their say, I choose the second. Spain needs to keep advancing, progressing with tolerance, respect, moderation and common sense,” Sanchez said.

"I have informed the King. I will dissolve Congress and call for elections for the 28th of April, Sanchez said after Friday's cabinet meeting.

Sánchez’s PSOE party, which holds 84 of the 350 seats in Congress, relied on the support of Basque and Catalan nationalist parties to seize power from the conservative People’s party (PP) in a confidence vote last year.

But the two main Catalan pro-independence parties – the Catalan Republican Left and Catalan European Democratic party – voted (Catalan pro-separation parties) with the PP and Centre-right Citizens party on the budget, defeating it by 191 votes to 158, with one abstention.

Spain's electorate is also set to vote in a series of local and European elections in May.

busy electoral year follows on from December 2018 regional elections in the southern province of Andalucia, in which the far-right Vox party unexpectedly won 12 seats.

The results broke new political ground in Spain, marking the first time that a far-right party recorded such electoral success since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

Vox then negotiated to form a right-wing coalition, which now runs Andalucia's regional government. Vox's success in Andalucia has sparked fears that the far-right could extend its influence to the national level.

In other hand, Spaniards will face an uncomfortable choice between political paralysis and separatist confrontation. Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's right-wing opponents, if victorious, could provoke a flare-up in tensions with Catalan secessionists.

Sanchez grabbed power last year after a corruption scandal toppled the government of Conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.


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